Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Anne Rice and Christ the Lord out of Egypt: A Novel

Remember Interview with a Vampire? Remember the feeling, as you read it, that you were probably treading very close to the essence of evil, and that evil was seductive and incredibly attractive? Anne Rice created a world of believable vampires, vampires you could identify with, vampires who created a cult following, and a legion of goth vampire wannabe’s, her prose was that seductive, that inviting, that . . . . irresistable.

Like a siren song, the voice pulled you from book to book, leading you along. With each book, a twist, and suddenly all the assumptions from the previous book were turned upside down, no longer valid when seen from another perspective. Rice lured you down the garden path step by step, and it’s hard to tell at what point you give up your will to resist the siren call.

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Recently Anne Rice experienced a re-conversion to Christianity, and is now devoting her writing talents to serving God. This newest book, Christ the Lord out of Egypt, is as thoroughly researched as all the earlier books, and speculates on the early years of the Christ. The book opens in Egypt, with a seven year old Jesus, wise beyond his years but still a child. He sees things he doesn’t understand, he hears things he knows to be significant but doesn’t know why, and when he asks questions, like what happened in Bethleham around the time of his birth, Joseph and Mary, his parents, won’t answer. In fact, they don’t want him to bring up the subject at all, and they tell him they will give him the answers when he gets a little older.

Meanwhile, he hears things, and ponders them. He asks older relatives, and wise teachers. Little by little, he gathers pieces of a puzzle, the puzzle of his background and his identity. He accidently kills a playmate, and brings him back to life. He prays for snow, and it snows. He learns self control through the exercise of powers he doesn’t know he has, he learns to limit himself, and to hide himself.

With his family, they leave Alexandria and return to Jerusalem and then Nazareth, building a new life with their extended family. He grows, he ponders, and he is given a few more pieces of information.

You would think that with Anne Rice’s talent and with her research skills, this would be a fascinating book, but sadly, it is flat, and dull. I wonder why it is easy to make evil so seductively alluring, but it is so hard to bring goodness to life in a believable way? I read the book all the way through, hoping it would get better, but it never did.

There are people – Jan Karon comes to mind – who write about goodness and good people in a vibrant way, making goodness vital and attractive. Wish Anne Rich could find that vein.

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February 17, 2007 - Posted by | Books, Family Issues, Living Conditions, Middle East, Political Issues, Social Issues, Spiritual

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